Presiding Bishop warns Bishop Duncan

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is making public a letter of warning that is being sent to a bishop who is actively seeking to withdraw his diocese from the Episcopal Church, and has stated that letters to other bishops will follow.

According to Episcopal Life Online the Presiding Bishop released the following letter:

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church — by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased — and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Read Jan Nunley’s article for Episcopal Life here.

Comments from the blogosphere:

Father Jake is concerned with the slow process of working through the canons and asks how faithful Episcopalians can be supported in this time:

First the Title IV Review Committee will consider the matter. That could take a couple of months. The bishops would then have two months to recant. Then the entire House of Bishops would have to meet and vote. It looks like the faithful in San Joaquin will be in a kind of limbo for at least five to six months. That is not good. In a time of crisis like this, it is critical that the Church move swiftly to assure that her members receive the kind of pastoral care such a traumatic situation will demand.

Mark Harris at Preludium raises the issue of danger in the mean time of the continued CANA incursions and making of more bishops for the US.

Thinking Anglicans has comments at their site.

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